The Nigeria Union of Teacher (NUT) is collaborating with Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) on the 2020 deadline for unqualified or unregistered teachers to upgrade, a union official has said.
National Public Secretary of the union, Mr Emmanuel Hwande, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja, that the ultimatum was necessary in ensuring that only qualified teachers were in schools in the country.
The Federal Ministry of Education had on June 7, 2019 sent a circular to all public schools across the country, giving Dec. 31, 2020 as deadline for unqualified teachers to quit the teaching profession.
The goal is to remove quackery in the teaching profession to ensure that only those with required competencies give the Nigerian child quality education.
Hwande said that NUT was pleased with what TRCN was currently doing in compliance with the directive “because every teacher must be qualified and certified to enter the classroom’’.
According to him, Nigeria needs quality teachers to deliver quality education and not the ‘cheaters’.
“The establishment of TRCN is to make the teaching a professional affair that somebody who wants to teach must have requisite qualification to enter the classroom.
“If you are not a law graduate and called to bar, you can never enter a court room; this should also apply to the teaching profession.
“TRCN has said that no going back on the policy and the union will support the council in every way possible to achieve its target because we need quality teachers to deliver quality education’’ he said.
Huande added that the level of compliance in public schools was higher than in private schools, which were really yet to comply with the order.
“What is keeping private schools away from the order is their management, the proprietors and fear of exposing their staff.
“Sometime ago, NUT went in to exhibit its jurisdictional scope in the school system but there was strong resistance from private schools.
“We meet with the government intermittently to put on our demand and if government responds accordingly, we will not have strike issues or others, and that is the fear of private schools’’ he said.
Hwande said that NUT often queried private schools’ recruitment process because the kind of people they brought into the system had no teaching skills.
“If they employ Master’s degree holder, they will not be able to pay. What they simply do is to employ someone with West African Examinations Council (WEAC) and National Examination Council (NECO).
“Teaching is a professional business, you cannot take your WEAC/NECO certificate to hospital as a doctor or nurse; nobody will allow you.
“The quacks have to be removed from teaching profession to achieve the mandate of TRCN to determine those who are teachers in terms of their qualifications and registration with the agency,’’ he said.
The union’s spokesman disclosed that at the expiration of the ultimatum, officials of the union and TRCN would go to public and private schools to enforce the order.
He urged affected teachers to take the opportunity of the qualifying tests to do the needful before the deadline “because once you are caught as unqualified teacher, the law enforcement agencies will take it up’’.
On Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) directive that all financial allocations to local government councils should go directly to their bank accounts,.
Hwande said the order would return primary education to pre-1994 era.
According to him, that was when funds meant for salaries of primary school teachers were used for other purposes.
“ This was leaving teachers with backlog of unpaid salaries for 10 to 12 months in some states.
“What NUT stand on this is that whatever the government is implementing should not affect, in anyway, the payment of primary school teachers’ salary.
“The state government is responsible for the management of primary education and what local government does is to partner with the state to prevent primary education from collapse under the local government councils.
“It is our submission that necessary policy arrangements be made to ensure the release of the teachers’ salaries before remittance of allocations to the local governments,’’ he said. (NAN)